A very bright UFO flashing through the night sky was seen by several people from the Highlands right across to Aberdeen-shire yesterday.

Pest controller Edward Cumming was walking his dog at North Kessock on the Black Isle around 5.45am when he saw the bright object - thought to be a meteor - flash in his direction from the Clachnaharry area of Inverness.

Mr Cumming, of Ferry Brae, said: "It was hard to say what size the meteor was, but it seemed about the size of a football. It was visible for a few seconds flashing over Clachnaharry towards the Black Isle. It was fascinating to see, but it was also a bit scary. It then broke up and disappeared in a dull maroon red colour. I am no astronomer but I like to look up at the stars."

Mr Cumming was so impressed he then drove to Tesco at Inverness where his wife Hazel works to ask if she had seen the meteor. She hadn't but another man who worked there had.

Quantity surveyor David Milne, who was travelling to his work with Miller Plant Ltd at North Lurg, Midmar, near Inverurie, also saw the UFO and contacted the Press and Journal to describe what he saw.

He said: "I was travelling westwards when, on the east side of Echt, at 5.42am, I noticed the comet or meteor or similar travelling at speed from the south going north.

"I slowed down and watched it for about eight seconds before it disappeared from view. I understand that mention was made of it on Radio 2 later this morning. I reported the sighting to the Meteorological Office, the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh."

Another early riser who say the bright light in the sky was Christina Palmer of Carnyx, Aultvaich, Beauly.

She said: "I was walking my dog at about 5am on the hill near my home and I looked up to the sky to look at Orion, which was low.

"Suddenly from behind me and on the ridge of the hill there appeared a huge white object about the size of a Mini car.

"It was travelling at a fast speed and glowed with a brilliant blue tip at the front. It went in the direction of Cromarty and exploded into thousands of pieces .

"If it had not exploded I would have believed I had seen a UFO."